In 2021, tuition for full-time students at Northwestern University was $60,276 a year.
Tuition increased 7.09 percent in 2021, from $56,286 the prior year. On average, college tuition rises about 3 percent a year.
If these numbers seem daunting, remember, the "sticker price" of tuition doesn't give you enough information to determine the actual cost. Many students pay far less than the total tuition after grants, scholarships, and tuition discounts kick in. Plus, student loans can make the amount you do have to pay for college more manageable.
Northwestern University is a private, nonprofit institution, so it has the same tuition for residents of Illinois as it does for residents from other states.
Public schools receive funds from the state to help them cover costs. These institutions offer reduced tuition for students who are residents of that state.
Attending a school where you qualify for in-state tuition can save significant money on the overall cost of college. Every state has their own rules about what makes someone eligible for in-state tuition. In many states, students must have lived in the state for 12 months before starting school to qualify for in-state tuition
Tuition at Northwestern is the same for all students.
International students are not eligible for federal financial aid, but may be eligible for school-specific aid and scholarships. International students with need may be eligible for the following types of financial support:
In addition to tuition, there are other costs associated with college, like room and board, facility fees, and books and supplies.
Board costs may vary depending on how many meals are included in the meal plan you choose.
The cost of books often surprises first-year college students. At Northwestern, you can expect to pay about $1,566 a year for books and supplies. This does not count the initial cost of a computer or other technology. The actual cost of books depends on the courses you take and the materials required.
Most schools also have fees to help cover the cost of facilties, like the library, gym and computer labs. Full-time undergrads at Northwestern pay $492 in fees each academic year.
There may also be optional fees associated with participating in certain activities, like joining a fraternity or sorority, or playing on an intramural sports team, may mean additional fees.
The total cost of transportation in college can really vary. It depends on if you drive or fly to get to school, own a car, or if you prefer to walk or take public transportation to get around campus.
A school's location can impact transportation costs. The Northwestern University campus is in a suburban setting in Illinois, not far from Chicago. First-year students are not allowed to park a car on campus.
For Northwestern students, $993 is good ballpark for transportation costs for on-campus students.
When creating a budget for college, don’t forget to leave some room in your budget for personal expenses, like entertainment, clothes, furnishings and toiletries.
Let’s look at the breakdown of all expenses, which can add up for both on-campus and off-campus students.
|2021 Total Tuition and Expenses|
|Books and Supplies||$1,566|
|Total Estimated Costs|
The breakdowns above provide a good estimate of the total cost of attendance before financial aid and scholarships. Tuition and fees may vary depending on program, course level, location, and more.
The majority of Northwestern University undergrads use financial aid to help pay for school. In 2021, 3,746 of the 8,194 undergrads enrolled received financial aid. Northwestern meets 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need for undergraduates.
The average financial aid package for a full-time, first-year student is around $55,856 a year. Around 30.29 percent of Northwestern undergrads take out student loans to cover any remaining costs. Northwestern graduates who have student loans graduate with an average of $35,219 of student loan debt.
The average debt for each loan type varies.
|Average Debt By Loan Type|
|Most Common Loans for Northwestern Students|
Most students take out institutional or government loans, because they tend to have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than private loans. Loans from the federal government can be subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized loans do not accrue interest during school, while unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest at the time the loan is issued. If students do no qualify for enough federal loans to cover the cost of tuition, some take out private loans. Parents can also take out ParentPLUS loans, which are government loans for parents who are helping their children pay for college.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) helps colleges determine how much financial need students and their familes have, so they can offer a financial aid package that meets, or come close to meeting, their need. For more information on Northwestern financial aid, keep reading, or visit their financial aid website.
Some students may receive grants and scholarships to help pay for college. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not have to be paid back.
In 2021, Northwestern awarded 3,658 need-based scholarships to students, giving away total of $206,877,745 to help students with financial need cover the cost of school. An additional $2,664,863 in merit-based scholarship money was awarded to students without demonstrated financial need.
The net price of college is the actual cost of attending a school for one year. Net cost is calculated by subtracting any scholarships, grants or other aid that does not need to be paid back from the total cost. Student loans are not part of the calculation, because they need to be repaid.
Now that we have a sense of the total estimated costs for Northwestern students, we can subtract the average financial aid package to find the estimated net cost. Net cost can vary depending on a students’ need and the financial aid award received.
When considering whether a school fits your budget, it is important to consider the estimated net cost, not just the sticker price of tuition. Often, schools with the highest tuition also offer the most generous aid packages, so estimate your net cost before eliminating a school because it does fit your budget.
The average amount of financial aid received by a full-time first year student with demonstrated need at Northwestern was $55,856 in 2021. By substracting the average financial aid package from the estimated costs, we get a number that may make the cost of Northwestern seem more manageable.
|Estimated Net Cost for Full-Time Students|
What will attending Northwestern really cost you? The answer depends on several factors.
As of 2011, colleges are required to have a net price calculator on their website to help prospective students and their families get a better idea of the actual cost of attending that school, based on their financial situation. You can find the Northwestern's net cost calculator on their website.
Some students choose to use payment plans to make the cost of tuition fit more comfortably in their budget.
Northwestern does not have guaranteed tuition.
The school offers a Prepaid Tuition Plan, which is a type of college savings plan that enables people to purchase future credits for their children at today's rate. It is best for people who are sure they or their child will attend a public school in their state.
Northwestern offers an Installment Payment Plan, which allows students to pay tuition in a series of smaller chunks instead of one lump sum.
Schools sometimes offer tuition waivers to certain groups to cover some or all of the cost of tuition. Some schools offer them for employees and their family, underrepresented students, or military students. Even with a tuition waiver, other expenses and fees are the responsibility of the student
Check the financial aid website for more information on payment plans and tuition waivers.